Dry Ecosystem Services: Approaches for Valuation and Ensuring Public Support
Dry ecosystems are home to some of the most charismatic species, support high species endemism and comprise many unique ecosystems and biomes, including savannahs, dry forest, coastal areas and deserts. However, currently dry ecosystems are neglected, under-valued and increasingly degraded. In order to restore the degrading dry ecosystems and to maintain the levels of ecosystem services derived from them, their true market value needs to be estimated so an action plan, which links the restoration to the beneficiaries, can be developed, funded and implemented. Humans derive a wide range of services from the natural capital, called ecosystem services, which make human life possible. Changes to ecosystems and degradation of ecosystem services, especially in the dry areas, are increasing at an alarming rate. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a novel conservation approach that internalizes environmental externalities through the creation of markets and quasi-markets. Private actors are assumed to put in practice the Coase theorem, meaning that the problem of externalities can best be overcome through private negotiations between affected parties.